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City Beat: Behind the velvet ropes at the Gamble House

March 24, 2013|By Nita Lelyveld
  • Docent Michael Murray, middle, leads a "Behind the Velvet Ropes" tour at the Gamble House in Pasadena.
Docent Michael Murray, middle, leads a "Behind the Velvet Ropes"… (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)

Imagine wandering around the Gamble House, flashlight in hand, shining a bright beam on the carvings in the living room friezes and peering into closets and bathrooms.

These are not the sorts of liberties you generally get to take on a tour of the famed  Arts and Crafts home in Pasadena. 

Once a month though, rules are relaxed a bit for the "Behind the Velvet Ropes" tour, a 2 1/2-hour intimate look at the National Historic Landmark.

Each visitor gets a flashlight. The docent dons a pair of white cotton gloves. And even though the everyday rule is no touching anything by anyone -- even the guides -- he opens doors and drawers as he takes you through room after room.

For my latest City Beat, I go poking around in the Gamble House. Get the whole story here.

And check out the photos and video I sent out on Twitter:

Behind the velvet ropes at the Gamble House

The Gamble House in Pasadena is an Arts and Crafts beauty and a National Historic Landmark. A special tour lets you go behind the velvet ropes and see things other visitors can't.

Storified by LA Times City Beat· Sat, Mar 23 2013 18:51:12

For my latest City Beat, I visit the Gamble House in Pasadena to go on an especially intimate tour.LA Times City BeatCome along on my visit to the Gamble House. Sending out photos and a video now.LA Times City BeatMost tours of the Gamble House last about an hour. You peer into rooms closed off by a velvet rope: pic.twitter.com/1z5EeZLd6tLA Times City BeatThe "Behind the Velvet Ropes" tour, offered once a month, is special. You get flashlights and... pic.twitter.com/mrd0fhjFqRLA Times City Beatthe velvet ropes come down: pic.twitter.com/PXoghIrHEBLA Times City BeatYou get to walk around the rooms that you normally view from outside: pic.twitter.com/rgytI1Fp09LA Times City BeatYou see things you would otherwise miss, like this carving of an owl in the living room: pic.twitter.com/zHHSD6hwK1LA Times City BeatOn ordinary tours, even the guides don't touch anything. On this one, they wear white cotton gloves... pic.twitter.com/399btfup3yLA Times City Beatand open doors to show you hidden secrets: pic.twitter.com/BSzPoAQE08LA Times City BeatThe house is full of beauty: pic.twitter.com/OHMOCFm7xxLA Times City BeatOn this special tour, our group had it all to ourselves for a stretch: pic.twitter.com/viqX1kW71kLA Times City BeatOur wonderful docent, Michael Murray, opened a window for us in the dining room: pic.twitter.com/GvkCkzZIZlLA Times City BeatHe let us see inside writing desks and secret panels in the walls: pic.twitter.com/5aoV5J8wAlLA Times City BeatIn the middle, we got cookies and lemonade: pic.twitter.com/yesGQoI2qcLA Times City BeatUpstairs, we got to walk into bathrooms... pic.twitter.com/sjTw2a5m56LA Times City Beatthough the warnings were clear: pic.twitter.com/3C8gcsDXphLA Times City BeatWe took in the views from the sleeping porches: pic.twitter.com/dt8uLO3StxLA Times City BeatYou could see the Rose Bowl from one of them: pic.twitter.com/E2su71Q9ytLA Times City BeatVideo of docent Michael Murray talking about the Gamble House and the "Behind the Velvet Ropes" tour:"Behind the Velvet Ropes" at the Gamble HouselatimescitybeatFor more on tours of the Gamble House, visit gamblehouse.org.LA Times City BeatAnd read all about the Gamble House tour in my latest City Beat: lat.ms/16QuIilLA Times City Beat

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Follow City Beat on Twitter and Facebook. Read more City Beats here.

Email ideas for future City Beats to nita.lelyveld@latimes.com

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